Celebration of Community: Eli Easton and Jamie Fessenden

Sunday May 06, 2018

Getting Gothic with Jamie Fessenden – by Eli Easton

I first got to know Jamie because he was one of the friendliest people on the Dreamspinner author forum, welcoming me and chatting with me when I was a totally newbie and knew no one. I loved and admired the hell out of his book Billy’s Bones, which involved a lot of serious research into PTSD and mental health and was a terrific angsty read that felt so real. Another favorite book of mine from Jamie is the lighthearted rom-com We’re Both Straight, Right? Clearly, this man has a lot of facets to his personality.

While chatting on Skype one day, Jamie and I discovered that we both loved horror films and horror novels. We talked about how much fun it would be to try to merge m/m romance with horror. And we thought it would be great to do something together.

Eventually the idea become gothika, an anthology series Jamie and I spearheaded. We swapped movie and book recs and brainstormed ideas for different types of “monsters” and paranormal themes for each volume of gothika. We invited other authors onboard, recruiting Kim Fielding, Sue Brown, and B.G. Thomas.

I love all of Jamie’s stories in the five volumes of gothika, and I feel like the stories I wrote for that series are some of the best novella-writing I’ve ever done. But more than anything, I have fond memories of trading scary stories with Jamie over Skype and sharing a passion for things that go bump in the night.

Jamie Fressenden on Eli Easton

Gabriel Knight, written by the very talented Jane Jensen. (If you haven’t played these games, play them!) I loved the dialog, I loved the music, and I thought the occult mysteries were incredibly well plotted. Jane released novelizations of the first two games, which I purchased and loved, and I looked up information about the games and when we might have more in the future. This led to me reading some press releases about Jane herself.

Fast forward to a few years ago, after I’d been published by Dreamspinner. One day in the DSP author forum, a new author appeared: Eli Easton. As she introduced herself, she casually mentioned she used to write computer games—the Gabriel Knight series, in particular. I was floored. I then proceeded to say those words every author has dreaded since Stephen King introduced us to Annie Wilkes. “Oh my God! You’re Jane Jensen! I’m your NUMBER ONE FAN!”

It was bad. I’m pretty sure she hadn’t actually given us her name. I knew what she looked like from photos in the articles, I knew she’d written some books after the last Gabriel Knight game, and worst of all, I knew she’d married the composer who’d written music for the games. It must have sounded as if I’d been sitting in a van outside her house, listening in with a parabolic microphone. (I never did that. I swear.)

There was a long pause, while she was probably debating witness protection programs. Then she said, “Uh… hi.”

Fortunately, despite this awkward introduction, we hit it off. I got to know her as a person (always good), and we ended up becoming friends. We’ve even co-created a series of anthologies called gothika. And I’ve grown to love her m/m romances as much as I loved her games.


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